Career Education Opportunities For High School Students in the National Culinary Competition

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California School of Culinary Arts hosts annual local contest for future chefs at cooking school.

Los Angeles-area high school students with a fascination for creative cuisine checked out their options for career education as the California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA) in Pasadena hosted the local finals of the Future Chef of America Culinary Scholarship Competition last month

“I hope to open a restaurant with my mother called the Dirty Spoon,” said first place winner Monet Walker, who won a $1,500 scholarship to CSCA where she begins her culinary education in July 2005. Three top winners were selected by judges from Le Cordon Bleu Schools. The second place winner of a $1,100 scholarship was Sam Shaaheed of Littlerock High School in Palmdale, and the third place winner of a $800 scholarship was Rudolph Bernal III of Alhambra Cathedral High School in Los Angeles.

The preliminary phase of the competition selected the candidates based on a 200-word essay stating their reasons for wanting to become a chef or culinary professional and what they hoped to accomplish upon graduation from a Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. A total of seven final contestants were selected out of more than 300 applicants. Career education specialists assisted in the selection.

During the final competition, the students prepared and presented a two-course signature menu comprising a salad and an entrée with chicken, a vegetable and a starch in less than 90 minutes. The prepared dishes were assessed by a panel of CSCA’s Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America chef instructors, including Chef Peter George, Chef Patrick Huggins, Chef Matthew Zboray and Executive Chef Angela Goodman.

“In the preliminary phase the judges looked for a sense of passion and commitment to a career in culinary arts and the hospitality industry,” said Megan Manion, director of marketing for the cooking school, CSCA. “During the final competition, judges based their decisions on flavor and seasoning, use of equipment and ingredients and creativity in presentation and plating.”

Awards for all seven finalists included scholarship prizes to the cooking school, gift certificates, a monogrammed chef’s jacket and a monogrammed chef’s knife from contest sponsors Mercer Tools, Superior Uniforms, and Wiley & Sons Publishers. Scholarships range from $100 to $1,500 toward enrollment at the California School of Culinary Arts.

California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena offers students a hands-on career experience with an experienced faculty dedicated to providing cooking school students with the necessary skills, knowledge, support and guidance for the successful development of a career in the culinary arts. For more information about their outstanding career education, go to


Megan Manion



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